Inquiry is a dynamic, open-ended exploration into the immediacy of our experience, in order to more deeply explore and understand the mystery of who and what we truly are. The practice of inquiry is based on a simple but profound principle: that Being freely reveals itself to anyone who loves to know the truth of reality and is willing to wholeheartedly surrender to not-knowing and remain open and curious about what that truth is. As George Washington Carver replied when he was asked how he discovered the thousands of uses he did for the “lowly” peanut, “When you love anything enough, it will reveal all it’s secrets to you.”
The purpose of inquiry is to see as deeply as possible into the truth of an issue significant to one at any particular time. Inquiry involves following one’s own personal thread. It usually feels like one is grappling with something – really needing to understand something. Therefore, it is vitally important to stay focused on one’s experience-in-the-moment and not get lost in rehashing old tapes of personal history, or getting into an endless loop of philosophical or psychological theorizing. The truth is here and now and can only be seen/ experienced by looking more and more deeply into what is happening in the moment. There is no pre-determined agenda in inquiry, except to go as deeply as possible into the inquiry, itself.
One needs to adopt an attitude of openness, curiosity, allowing/ surrender (allowing the process to unfold by letting go deeper and deeper into the self-as-is, what’s happening in the moment – not knowing, venturing into the unknown). To that end, it is useful to keep a question running in the background of your consciousness such as “What is this?” or “What’s that about?” or “What’s behind/ underneath that?” or “What does that mean?” – anything that will keep you looking more and more deeply into the truth you are seeking – so that you are looking into/ questioning every thought, feeling, sensation, and image that comes into consciousness, using each as a doorway to the next deeper layer of insight and understanding.
The optimal “posture” for inquiry: The head center is open/ spacious, “not knowing” (except for “knowing” where I am in the process – where desire or aversion is leading me). The heart center is in touch with what I’m feeling as deeply as possible. The belly center (hara, dan tien, kath) is open to presence. The mind must be the servant to the heart. Curiosity is a heart quality that effects the mind – it comes out of our deepest yearning to know the Truth.